Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Proponents for Better Vocabulary

Yahoo! News - List of Words That Should Be 'Banned'

I can't find a single word or phrase on this list -- with the exception of "LOL", which I lay claim to from 1987 when I first found the "online world" -- that I couldn't live without seeing, saying, hearing, or rolling my eyes over.

After perusing that, go test yourself with this. Last time my score was 171. I might take it again soon, to see if I've learned anything (or lost anymore braincells).


Ok, I've surrendered -- FOR THE MOMENT -- the whole RSS thing. I am NOT defeated, merely regrouping until I can study this thing up.

I hope everyone has a very safe and comfortable New Year's Eve. My husband and I will be working (yes, working) doing henna art for a biking club party (Hey, it pays well) and then stopping by to see the new year in with some friends.

May 2004 become a year worth remembering!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Testing 1...2.....7...

Ok, I'm still messing with all this RSS stuff, most of which is completely gibberish to me but the essence of which I'm grasping. Lots of things aren't quite working or I can't find sufficient explanations of it that work and make sense for me, but for now, I know this much

is SUPPOSED to be my feed. I'll get around to making pretty with it once I know it works. I've got some fancy little icons over there that I put there because I'm a gullible, trusting sort and the nice websites I'm using TOLD me to.

So, if anyone out there knows what the hell I'm not doing right, feel free to lemme know.


One book off the list! That brings my grand total up to 42 books for 2003.

I should mention that I'm not counting the Edward Gorey books I've read this year, mostly because they are so short and are mostly about the pictures (Cautionary Tales for Children, The Epiplectic Bycycle, The Curious Sofa).

There was another book, mostly pictures, I loved, called Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same: The Life And Times of Some Chickens

While incredibly funny (check the link and take a look), I shan't count it either, even though it would bring my total number of books read to 46. I have my honor.

Ponderific - Freewheeling 'bloggers' are rewriting rules of journalism

You know, what impresses me about this story is not the idea that webloggers are affecting our political life, or that weblogging is creating competition for traditional media, or even that political candidates now feel they must have weblogs to run a campaign.

It's that on December 30, 2003, USA TODAY still describes weblogs as: "...a new form of publication on the internet."

Yeah, there are people who don't know what a blog or a weblog or a webjournal is. I'm sure there are, just like there are people who don't know what a muon or a quark is. This doesn't make them new, or even all that obscure. (Anyone ever see Roxanne ?)

You think the "powers that be" are still waiting for weblogs to go away and are just so amazed that they are taking over as a media/news source?


Ok, here's what I've done. Tell me if it sucks or not.

1) hunted for a link color scheme that is visible. I'm skipped aesthetics here, and just going for "Can I see the damn thing?" Can YOU see them?

2) added myself to an RSS Feed. Or so I've been lead to believe. We Shall See.

3) Mucked around with the Blogroll. I'm still working on that one. I'm giving in to my pigeonhole hobby.

I'll think of a title later, when I'm not so sleepy


There's nothing quite like touring the list of site feeds at Bloglines (Via Miss A) to make one feel very small, insignificant, and ... well... specklike.

Here are the partially chewed thoughts I'm trying to put together:

There are literally hundreds of weblogs that talk about nothing but weblogs and attendent subjects. I find most of them fairly incomprehensible in that I understand the words, but when I try to grasp meaning, I get very sleepy very suddenly.

I'm really much more picky about what weblogs I will read than I ever considered possible.

There are definately weblog "neighborhoods", a social structure by area like in big cities, and you can tell what weblogs belong where and which ones are trying to bridge or pass. I now consider the potential for weblog "gangs" as an actuality.

I am SO underusing my potential, but only because everytime I try to think hard, I get really sleepy.

It doesn't help me at all to subscribe to a feed in Japanese. I can't read Japanese. I won't even load the character set. I do have the Hebrew character set, but not on purpose. I don't read Hebrew either.

The whole RSS feed thing has a certain appeal, but it's a little...predigested. I never realized how much I like Site Design Elements. RSS feeds feel like I'm reading Cream-of-Words with no butter and no sugar.

More on this later, after I've had a nap.

Monday, December 29, 2003

The Quest for Knowledge

Can someone out there explain to me what an RSS feed is, why I would want one, how I'd get one, what horrors it will inflict upon me, and how my life will improve because of it, all in very small words?

THE Question about RotK

At what point in the movie did you simply HAVE to get up and go to the bathroom?

Sherri is Happy

Because she got a surprise Amazon box in the mail from Kevin at Hidden City!. He sent to me, the lovely man, the very spiffy hardcover of Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman: Endless Nights" which I'm currently just sort of petting and looking at lovingly, and, as if that weren't enough. "The Curious Sofa: A Pornographic work by Ogdred Weary" by Edward Gorey, which will be plundered forthwith.

Therefore, I declare Hidden City to be Sherri's Favorite Site of the Day! (So I can be bought. Whadayawant from me?) ;>

Sunday, December 28, 2003

Incredible Health Care Solutions

Have you ever used a Neti pot? Chances are, unless you are into Ayurvedic, yoga, or alternative medicine, you've never even heard of a Neti pot. I will admit, for me, it is a treatment of last resort.

I made a good faith effort to do some of that reading I was complaining I wasn't doing. After managing about 2 chapters each in two books, I realized my head was so stuffed that I could not push words through. I spent a total of ten minutes and 7 tissues trying to clear my head. My ears were ringing, I was coughing and gasping with a nasty wheeze, and I was dizzy from the effort. Worse, I wasn't any better off and I was holding soggy tissue.

Warning: This is about to get gross, because, well, why should I suffer alone? If you are the sensitive type (Baki), try playing with this for a while and come back later.

For those of you who wish to share my pain, here's the story.

I get at least one headcold a year. It always lasts at least 5-6 weeks because, my sinuses being the delicate creations they are, I'll keep the drainage long after the actual cold has ended. This means raw, sore sinuses that bleed. It isn't pretty. It means a sinus infection. That means the next cold germ to come along takes hold. I'll go through this particular cycle about every 2 weeks or so until I do something about it, like major doses of antibiotics, which cause their own problems.

Well, today I saw the first blood, and I'm feeling wheezing in my chest. I've no desire to keep this damn thing going through January and last year I finally came up with a solution to the thing. I have to clear the drainage out before the bleeding starts, clean out anything potentially infectious or irritating, use decongestants to keep it dry, and stay away from people. If I jump on it early enough, I can have the whole ordeal finished in 2 weeks and be done with it for a while (at least until summer, when colds run wild in Florida again).

Introduce here the Neti Pot method. My whole attitude toward is is nicely summed up here:

For those who may not have much idea of the internal workings of the nasal cavities, it may seem stupid to pour warm salty water through one's nose.

Pardon my inarticulation, but, "DUH!" Oh, you have no IDEA how much convincing it took from my husband, from various yoga attuned friends, and from my accupuncurist, to persuade me to attempt this. After all, I'm one of those people who won't put her head underwater when I'm swimming. I HATE water in my nose.

But I did it. I already felt like I was drowning anyway, and I'd suffered through this particular cycle enough that I was at that point when trying seemingly stupid things wasn't any worse than all the sensible things I'd already done. I put warm salt water in this little pot. I put the long spout of this pot in one nostril. I tilted my head over the sink.

I choked and gasped because I'd forgotten to open my mouth. Must open mouth, you know, for the breathing part and the not swallowing the salt water part. I cursed and coughed and spluttered and grabbed for tissues to wipe up my face, my shirt, and the sink. Then I tried it again.

I cannot say this is a pleasant thing. What comes out of your nose when it's over is even less pleasant. You usually have to do it more than once, which is the least pleasant part of it.

But damn if it doesn't work. First, you get several hours of unobstructed breathing through your nose (especially nice if you haven't been able to do it for a while). It gets easier with practice and you feel less like you are deliberately trying to drown yourself over the sink. (Don't look in the mirror when you do this. The last thing you want to do is see it.)

Now, I should state that I came down with this particular cold on the 24th, and it is only now, on the 28th, that I've reached the desperation point necessary to force me to this extreme -- which is far shorter a period than years passed, but still a lot longer than the true afficionados of sinus flushing. However, I'm holding on to the hope that the results will be as they have been in years past, and I'll be feeling better in about 2-3 days. Then, the whole nasty episode can be filed and forgotten until next year.

Ok Baki, you can come back now.

It's like a different country in the Netherlands

It's so damned helpful to have some [RA] Perspective. Isn't it a nice thought that some lately famous whozzit announces he or she is gay and it's so not news? No eyebrows raised, no threats, no protests, no threats, no chiming attaboys, just a shrug and a "Yeah, so? I know 15 people just like ya." Won't it be a great world when one's sexuality is just another character trait, like your hair color or whether you like chocolate ice cream? It's just one more thing, no more, no less.

Like it should be.

Why Sherri Won't Read

I've stacked up the books in my bedside bookshelf and I am disheartened and disappointed in myself. I've got SO many books with bookmarks stuck in them and I haven't cracked one in weeks. Instead, I roam through the Internet miasma, poking and prodding and making little judgments and lacing thoughts together, not one of which includes "Hey, I wonder if that fudly art history professor and the really hot biologist figured out where the Illuminati assassin was going to drop the body of the cardinal before the Anti-matter bomb explodes under the Vatican."

That's sad, really. You'd think a hot title like Angels and Demons would have held my interest longer, but rather I found that, interesting bits aside, I really didn't want to read the description of the cardinel's particular demise just yet. It was going to be ugly, I already knew that, so I needed to brace myself. I've moved the book around a few times and haven't even flipped a page since I stuck the marker in. I've got a stack of books like that. And I keep starting new books, reading in a chapter or two, placing my marker, and putting it in the pile. Why? Why?

Once upon a time, back before satellite TV and CDs and home computers, I read voraciously. I read everything and I read anything. When nothing else was around, I read the cereal box and the lists of ingredients on the TV dinner. I starved for words. I would check out piles of books from the library -- and I do mean piles, that had to be carried to and fro in the old fashioned grocery bag, the ones big enough that you could cut a hole for your head and holes for your arms and take your crayons to it and have an instant costume -- read them all and have them back no later than 2 weeks and usually within 1 week even though I was a preferred library patron and got 3 weeks to turn my books back in. Now, I don't even bother with a library. They take my bookmarks out.

Sometimes I even think "Hey, shut the stupid computer, turn off the TV, and pick up that damn book you hunted for and paid real money to own and READ IT." I'll hold that thought for up to 3 seconds. I'm having that thought right now.

But right now I'm typing and the laptop is right here and the bookshelf is all the way over there and I'm dizzy because this cold has gotten into my ears and...

I could list some more excuses, but that's all they are.

I can't get a handle on it. When I actually DO dive into a book, it's great. It's fun! I burn right through. I don't read word by word, or even in word pairs. I tend to take in whole lines of text at a time (depending on how the text is formatted) or groups of words, translating them directly into my mental movie. When I'm into it, I'll read until my eyes cross and I can't hold the book up anymore. So why won't I? Why don't I?

Got no clue. However, maybe I can put a little guilt on myself. Here's my current list of Books Half Read:
Angels and Demons -- Dan Brown
Slan -- A.E. van Vogt
The Bone Doll's Twin -- Lynn Flewelling
The Practice Effect -- David Brin
Harpo Speaks -- Harpo Marx with Rowland Barber
Black Oak : Hunting Ground -- Charles Grant
God Stalk -- P.C. Hodgell
The Waterborn -- J. Gregory Keyes
Traitor's Moon -- Lynn Flewelling
False Colors -- Georgette Heyer (well, I actually wasn't enjoying this one so maybe it's a pass. I skipped to the end)
The Foundling -- Georgette Heyer
Around the World with Auntie Mame -- Patrick Dennis
12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women -- Gail McMerkin (I think I got to secret #2)
Ice -- Anna Kavan (I hunted this book for over a year)
Beginnings, Middles and Endings -- Nancy Kress
The Plot Thickens -- Noah Lukeman
What Fresh Hell Is This? Dorothy Parker -- Marion Meade

Hmm -- maybe if I did nothing but read until New Years, I could reach my goal of 52 books for the year....maybe...(mmm the guilt must be working, but I'd have to shut down the computer...)

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Instead of doing the soapbox moment I'd planned...

I had to go find this.

Super weggie : PSV's Mateja Kezman looks to the sky after missing a golden chance against AEK Athens during their Champions League match in Eindhoven.

I knew I'd seen it before -- back in November on Unextraordinary.

I'm still doing research.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Can someone explain


No goal : Roma's forward Antonio Cassano reacts after missing a goal against Modena at the Olympic stadium in Rome, during their Serie A soccer match.

I've seen other photos of this same behavior. I'm greatly puzzled.

Now, About those Links

In which Sherri climbs once more upon her little soap box to pontificate self-reflectively on the mysteries of weblogging...

I already feel miserable, so it's a perfect time to talk about that so touchy and delicate subject -- links. As for the misery, just stay out of the way when I cough, sneeze, and croak. Oh, and hope that virii really CAN'T travel via electrons.

Anyway, links. I'm talking not about links within an entry, which can be quite transient (although they may be just as subject to the motives below) but to the permenent link lists, link pages, blogrolls, etc., that most every weblogger has. There are a lot of opinions about links. Links are important to any site that wants to be a part of the weblogging community. What's interesting is the variety of reasons for linking and expectations of linking. I like making lists, so here's a list (it is neither all inclusive nor specifically pointed at anybody.)

1) Linking as a means of social climbing. This requires reciprocal links, a sort of "I carry your link, you carry mine" and is usually something to which popular website owners are subjected. People with sites those "A listers" have never heard of will write asking for a link. By having your link on a popular site, you may get to ride the popular sites coattails to fame and fortune.

2) Linking because you know someone. I sometimes call this "Incestuous linking", mostly because it sounds so kinky, but also because it means people link to another site, not because they like it, read it, or can recommend it, but because it belongs to someone they know. The links will be reciprocal. This kind of linking tends to build little cliques and can result in the most horrible flaming should someone dare drop a link.

3) Slavish Admiration Links. This is linking to sites that you think are just sooo cool and wow and so forth that you hope if you link to them, some of the "cool" will rub off on you. It's like hanging around with a popular crowd in highschool, even if they don't pay you much attention at all. You may not even really LIKE the sites you are linking, but you're won over by their cachet of coolness. You may also fill their comments and email with lots of admiration.

4) Agenda Links. This is linking to sites that say what you like and agree with your opinion, whatever that opinion is. If someone wanders from the line, you must either reprimand or drop them.

5) Pity Links. You're the happy owner of a reasonably popular site. You have someone you know to whom, while you may not really think they are all that wonderful, you are willing to throw a link just because you are so magnanimous. Usually, they've asked you to link to them, but not always. They may just fill your comments and email with lots of admiration. You may also rather like the idea of having someone be grateful to you, since linking to a less popular site automatically demonstrates that your site is MORE popular.

There are a lot of variations to these basic linking philosophies. They all sound rather negative, don't they? Is there no positive way to have a links list? I think so.

First, as long as a link list isn't made up based exclusively on one of those philosophies -- as long as it's spread out among them -- I think that may be positive. Let's be realistic. We are human beings, and thus we are fully subject to desires to be admired, loved, given attention, and otherwise to receive positive regard, especially from those we admire and respect, and especially from total strangers who aren't asking us for anything. Celebrity, in its myriad levels and variations, is heady stuff and we all like to taste of it. I don't think too many people are immune and those who are...well, I don't think I know any. I know I'm not one.

Second, your link list should be about what you like and what you recommend. That's a pretty honest basis. Just because you think a particular site is super cool doesn't mean you can't honestly like it. Just because you agree totally with most everything someone else says doesn't mean linking them is bad. Thinking someone is developing as a weblogger and wanting to encourage them by directing some hits there way is a rather noble thought, really.

So, since I'm sitting here being a know-it-all on my nice thrown with my big ol' box of Kleenex and a lot of attitude, let me lay down my Rules for Perfect Linking Relationships.

1) Link what you like without expecting a damn thing in return.
2) When you don't like a link anymore, drop it. You don't need to explain yourself if you don't want to. Don't feel guilty about it, either. You are allowed to control your own content.
3) Never expect anyone else to link to you. Save yourself the rejection and don't even ask.
4) Be aware of who link to you, if possible, and say "thank you" at least once.
5) If someone drops your link, don't whine about it. Give them the dignity of being able to control their own weblog content.
6) Don't base your self worth or the value of your weblog on how many links you have or don't have.
7) If someone you don't want to have linked places a link on their site, make a POLITE request for removal and then drop it (there are exceptions, like if you are linked unwillingly to a porn site or a hate site). If someone asks you to remove a link, go on and do it. You can ask why if you like, but accomodate the person. There are so many, many, MANY websites who would LOVE to have a link to you that you don't really need to be concerned about someone who doesn't.
8) When in doubt about whether or not to link (such as linking to a private or passworded site), ask first.

Again, this is for that blogroll or permanent set of links. Article links are actually, in my opinion, a much more delicate issue and can cause such trouble that sometimes I wonder if it's really worth doing, except that it's one of the major pillars upon which weblogs are built so just be prepared to handle the heat if you link someone and they don't like what you say. Ah well, that's the glory of free speech!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Breaking all the rules

I'm a rebel and a rule-breaker, I'll never be successful or popular and I probably won't go to Heaven.

Hold on, let me explain.

While link jumping, I came across this list of rules, which I suspect is already well linked, since this site (one would assume) follows all these rules and is therefore popular, successful, and destined for Heaven. Now, I think about half of this was done with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, but it made me curious. Curiosity almost always leads to Google or Yahoo. There are a LOT of Rules of Blogging. There are also some Anti-Rules, for the nonconformists among us.

So I've made a list. If you want to see what you aren't doing right, I'm sure one of these people can tell you.

10 Habits of Highly Annoying Bloggers
How to Write a Better Weblog
Deconstructing the Blog
Don't Tell Me How To Blog
Rules? I don't need no stinkin' rules!
Rules to Blog By
Learning the Blogging Rules
Blogging is Difficult
Feh. A Pox on all their rules
Successful Blogging
8 Simple Rules for Dating My Blog
Good Blog, Bad Blog
The Voice of Authority: What Makes a Sticky Blog
How Not to Blog

I think that's quite enough, but I'm sure there's more. I didn't hit most of the 'official' sites and there are other searches that will turn up similar subjects.

My point is this: I suspect, having read all that and a bit more, that really NO ONE KNOWS JUST WHAT A WEBLOG IS, just as there is plenty of debate still about what is music, what is poetry, what is a novel, etc. That's all before you get around to what is a GOOD weblog or what is a BAD weblog. Here we wander into heavy philosophical ground, as well as dragging in ethics, aesthetics, and a whole bunch of other 'tics. And that doesn't even go into the idea of what constitutes "success" (I like Walloworld's take on that, actually). When you take it apart, it begins to make less and less sense.

I'm putting it back together for myself as follows: all any of these people know -- and are capable of stating -- is what THEY PERSONALLY like, based on their own interests, tastes, and definitions for what is "good", "bad", and "successful". They can tell you or me how to create a weblog they might like, and we might go out to do it in hopes that they will read it and link to it and otherwise get a woodie over it or something and we will show up in links everywhere and get a book deal. That might be termed as "writing for a specific audience" or "having a focus for your weblog" (I've already used the term "blog" enough that I want to wash my hands).

You can have a website designed by statistics. You can write for critics. You can write for family and friends who love you anyway. You can write to some invisible person seen only in your head. There are, judging just by the numbers, a LOT of ways to have a weblog. There are also lots of ways to have a successful weblog.

If you are, somehow, curious as to my very personal, individual, and completely opinionated ideas as to what makes a good weblog, you can look at the sites I have linked to the left. Those aren't all the sites I like, but they are the ones who fulfill my personal linking philosophy
1. I like what's said, no matter how I feel about the person saying it.
2. It's updated fairly frequently because it's just not nice to send people to a weblog that's either dead or on hiatus.
3. I read it at least once a week.
4. The design does not hurt my eyes or confuse me.

I figure the 6 or 8 folks who read my site regularly feel about the same, except for my Husband (who reads to see if he's in trouble lately) and at least two friends (who read to see if my Husband is in trouble).

There's a whole other discussion in here about linking and the politics of linking. I got onto that role at Joi Ito's site. Because I *am* so completely self reflective, it's important to note that I don't link his site because he gets a certain amount of guilt about links and feels like he might be obligated to link back when he really doesn't want to. I don't want to add to his turmoil, nor am I link-fishing, which goes deeper and deeper into a whole OTHER thing and I should stop now.

So, in any case, here are MY rules for having this weblog.

1. Surrender any idea of being "good" or "successful" by any criteria involving number of hits, number of links, number of comments, or what you see at Sitemeter, Extreme tracking, Technorati, or any other such sites. Stats are for fun, not for determining self-worth. Do it as long as you enjoy it, and stop when you don't enjoy it anymore.
2. Write whatever you like in whatever manner you like, with the full understanding that some segment of weblog readers will not like it, will strongly disagree with it, or will otherwise be upset with it. Other segments will never see it, and even more will see it and not care.
3. Write about whatever you want, but take responsibility for what you write. If you aren't sure if something will get you in trouble, skip it. If you write something that offends someone else, be prepared to either take the heat and leave it up or -- if the person is important to you -- to retract or remove the post, and/or post an apology.
4. Feel free to make your own rules and to break them when you feel like it. If you want to write to please an audience, that's great, but don't later whine about how you can't write what you want because of your audience's expectations. Go back to rule 1.

Them's my rules. I may never be wildly popular. I may never be successful or get a book deal. I certainly won't get to Heaven. But I'm going to damn well enjoy what I do here until I don't enjoy it anymore.

Post Christmas Something or Other

One of the things I got for Christmas was a headcold. Actually, it arrived the day before, but it really took me out today. I didn't go to dinner at the fancy restaurant as planned. Instead, Mother In Law and Husband went, and they brought me back goodies, which I've been picking over all afternoon and evening. This is because, thanks to Aleve Cold and Sinus, my sense of smell is not completely obliterated and I still have some appetite.

The haul was pleasant. Husband had been paying for jewelry on lay away all year, so while I didn't get the DVD recorder or the DVD burner I've been eyeing, I did get a beautiful earring/ring/pendant set. However, as I've informed husband, I can barely wear my wedding ring on a regular basis, so buying me rings that just fit my pinkie finger (of which I have more than I have pinkie fingers) is no longer necessary. I'm just not a ring person. It has to do with both my tendency to swell in my hands and fingers for no particular reason I can determine, and my habit of bashing, banging, and smashing my hands. It's a wonder I have fingers at all considering I seem incapable of estimating how close they are coming to any hard, immovable object I walk past.

I did get a fair amount of books, a video game that looks all kinds of interesting, a Godzilla double feature, and some other DVDs, two CDs, a "nail spa" (if you read the above paragraph about my hands, you can make a guess about how my nails look on any given day, but it was a nice thought), and an outfit which is a great color and a good fabric but will have to be altered to fit (in a strong swing in a new direction, the shirt was MUCH too big and the jumper fits a little weird, with the hem in the horrible "directly across the kneecap" position and the fake belt (!) landing at the top of my hips, thus guaranteeing I will look 7 months pregnant whenever I wear it. We shan't go into how I feel about outfits with fake anything on them, because this was a gift from the Mother In Law and I suspect encompasses her feelings about me. Usually what she buys -- and she always buys clothes -- is too small or a completely inappropriate color for me, or is made of something that makes me itch.)

The books are all perfect, and only half of them came off my Amazon wishlist, so that was even better because it meant I got something I didn't even know I wanted but most definitely do want.

The other good thing, since I was firmly lodged in bed with cats, was that Boomerang was showing episodes of the original Jonny Quest all day. Whoo hoo! I slept most of the afternoon, since I didn't sleep much last night, and woke up covered in cats. There's nothing wrong with waking up covered in cats unless you want to move. They don't like that much. You can get hurt.

I hope everyone else managed to survive and thrive on this most ambitious of all holidays. Now we've got just a little more time to wrap up 2003 and prepare for 2004, the thought of which, due to my current infirmity, is making me unforgiveably maudlin.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

The Sad Casualties of Christmas

The mail boxes for our street sit in my front yard. When I came home at lunch today, I saw this.

I think the whole package delivery thing was too much for it. Or someone ordered a load of lead bars.

My Favorite Christmas Present So Far

Take a few minutes out of your day and go read Scrooge's Errands by Pete Milan at I Shoot With My Mind. This is a seriously good piece of Christmas reading.

Blurry Thinking

U.S. Blurs High-Tech Washington Images like that is going to keep anyone we don't like from seeing things we don't want them to see.

I give it a big "Huh?"

Does this make sense to anyone else? Does anyone actually think the US has exclusive control over space satellites? Does anyone believe that by selectively blurring certain aerial photos that we are protecting anything from unfriendly eyes?

Big question: Do YOU feel any safer knowing this?

I don't. I think my government's thinking is getting blurrier by the minute.

12 Months of Credit Card Bills

There are three things about this analysis on the cost of the 12 days of Christmas that make me go "huh"?

1) That anyone would look up all this stuff and then do the math
2) That a couple of these gifty things sort of appeal to me
3) That I'm so strapped for something to post that I'm linking it.

I think I'll stick to giving books, DVDs and video games.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Let's go to the theatre!

Invitation to Florida Webloggers!

Hey, come on all your Florida Web Folk! Let's do something artsy!

Stolen with great abandon from Solonor's Ink Well.

Caling all you webzombies

My favorite Dutch guy is not only going crazy and thinking about ravishing ballerinas, but he's posted a survey from a college student doing research on weblogs.

[RA] For god's sake, woman, wake up! Scroll down to the post script and do your bit for higher education!

More about what's on your head than in it

French headscarf ban stirs Arab, Muslim uproar

No kidding. This continuation of the headscarves debate has some more interesting points, bringing out some areas of disagreement amidst Muslims themselves. However, this was the quote that meant the most to me.

"Whether a woman wears a scarf or a mini-skirt is a matter of individual liberty."

Individual liberty. Oh yeah. As in freedom to chose without government dictation. Except in the French Secular schools.

Or in certain areas of the United States concerning certain aspects of individual lives, like who one can love or marry or...

Anyway, it's obviously about more than a piece of cloth.

A Pause for Mortality

I've always had a morbid interest in the deaths of famous people. Death is a mysterious thing (talk about cliches!) to begin with. The death of a person whom so many strangers have spent time thinking about, watching, reading about, talking about -- such a death seems even more improbable. It seems like they will never be forgotten, but I wonder how long our collective memories are?

Celebrity Deaths in 2003

There are a lot of years listed in this list. I was surprised at some of the names I saw. I'm a fan of old movies and old music, so I knew so many names. The one thing I find somewhat comforting is that many of them lived quite long lives.

So, if the Christmas turmoil is getting to be a bit much, I recommend taking a moment to reflect on all these famous and powerful people who are not around for it, as well as those not so famous. Reflection is good for the soul.

The King returned right over my nerves

Just got back. Still processing. Didn't stop shaking until the third hour. More later.

Later: Whew.

I have one negative (hold on, hold on!). The movie swung so hard to emotional peaks that I was exhausted before the end. I went numb. Thus, I was cheated out of fully enjoying the very proper and well done ending. I think I could have done with about 5 minutes of the Sauruman scenes taken out (that part felt a little truncated, a little "well, let's just move along now). I would have happily traded in a few seconds of slow motion hobbit misery, a couple of Oliphant stompings, and a few giant freaking boulders breaking things for the cut scenes and been quite happy.

The one thing the previous movies was intersperse the heavy scenes with little trickles of humor (mostly between Gimley and Legolas). This time, all that humor was held off to the last battle. That, I think, is what was so hard for me.

I plug into these movies intravenously. I started trembling within the first 15 minutes. Before the first hour I was shaking all over, my body so tense that I have aching muscles this morning. The music works on me very hard -- I have yet to successfully hear the soundtrack for the first movie without crying. The visuals were at times more than I could stand and I closed my eyes for several scenes, just letting the sound do all the work.

On the other hand, the ghost army swarming over the battle field and the city was all good.

*sigh* I sooo need a nap now.

Monday, December 22, 2003


I've been thinking this one over for a while now. Here goes:

First Reader
Someone seriously interested in literary fiction (preferably short stories, possibly novels) but with a wider range of reading/writing, especially science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction and erotica, to read first draft stories for aspiring writer. Must have the ability to articulate opinions and responses to the written word. Extensive reading background a plus. Ideal partnership would be an exchange of pieces and comments, but someone who just wants to read and give opinions would also suit.

Editor/Writing Partner
Equitable partnership in which both exchange written work for both stylistic editing/commenting/critiquing and copyediting/proofreading, with definite ambitions to publish. I have strong technical skills in writing, have studied literary criticism and literature, and can tell when the spell check/grammar check is wrong over 70% of the time. Most interested in someone with equal skill who can both take and give honest, clear, and precise critiques, but has a strong sense of self and wants that in a partner. Object -- putting really good writing into the world.

If you are interested in either position, let me know. Oh, and don't take my writing here as an example of my editing skills. This is all extemporaneous and fairly "stream of consciousness" writing. I don't even run the spell check most of the time.

The Bash Revisited

This the rumor/report underlying this little story on Apple's iPod problem subjected Xkot to some severe pummeling from angry Apple fans.
Battery And Assault

However, I come not to praise (or condemn) iPods, but to dig into some of the other issues this article brings up, like disposability.

I'm one of those old people who remember when electronics were expensive and fancy and nifty neato wondergadgets. Throwing away an electronic item goes against the grain with me. It seems wrong. How can I throw away something so complicated, so marvelous, so expensive? Oh, I've gotten used to it in the last few years when I was finally convinced to chuck aging Walkmans, deaf answering machines, unloved cell phones and assorted other spark powered creations into the trash. I do it, but it rankles. I know that, yes, there's always something newer, shinier, better, faster, more powerful -- superlative away, I'll wait -- just down the pike, but sometimes I just don't want to expand my capabilities. Sometimes I am happy with what I have.

Sounds so much like I'm passing into an old generation, doesn't it? Of course, as electronic devices have dropped in price, it gets easier and easier to toss them out when they break. And relative values have changed. The $85 Walkman tape player I got as a highschool graduation gift (bought at the Navy Exchange because it was significantly cheaper) is not nearly the high function radio/tape player I got from Wal-Mart a couple years ago for about $20. But, that damn Walkman, which doesn't really work, took much more effort to toss out than the cheaper replacement did when it finally stopped working. If the replacement had cost $85 (or more, given the passage of time and lack of access to Navy base shopping) I'd have been fixing that puppy.

So I can feel the anquish and the anger of Casey Neistat. I'm in sympathy with those people who can't face the inevitable death of their iPods. I'm still not going to buy one, but I have sympathy.

When did we stop fixing things? When did repairing something become a matter of diminishing returns? Why is it easier, cheaper, and simply more possible to throw something away and replace it rather than repair and update it? And is that perception real? Is it REALLY easier and cheaper to toss something than to repair it? How did we become convinced of the validity of disposability? The change in perception has taken a whole host of other things with it -- skils and abilities that were once fairly common are now considered unusual and rare. We admire people who can cook a good but basic meal. We seek out friends who can sew, who know how to change the oil in a car or tighten a bicycle chain. We look upon them as valuable but...weird. Who does that sorrt of old fashioned thing anymore?

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Night of the Living Drag Queen

It took more than the usual 2 hours to prepare Miss S for her night. It was much simpler for me -- I wear simple makeup that takes me 20 minutes if I fuss. Hair takes 5 minutes unless I hit a snarl. Dressing -- 10 minutes including 2 minutes of looking in the mirror and making faces at myself.

Miss S has a much more complicated time. I won't even go into the various aspects of foundation garments, padding, and hose. We will skip the careful debate about clothing. Let's go to make up. Miss S has limited experience in the application of makeup. She has, for examples, me and every girlfriend she's ever had. She also has pictures of other drag queens available via the Web, and all the same photos and video images coming through TV print media. She also has a mind of her own about what she likes and doesn't like. This occasionally choses to exhibit itself at odd moments. Although willing to take my advice and follow my lead in this unfamiliar area, she often says (and I concur) that she will not learn if she doesn't do it herself.

But she needs to practice some time other than when we are getting ready to go out. After a few false starts and experiments with eye makeup, we both agreed to this. Then there were hair problems, and then it was 9:30 pm and we were just getting ready to leave.

*sigh*. She looked beautiful, I will admit it. However, my mood was slipping. The day had already been frustrating ( a day show in which we -- again -- sold nothing) and I had eaten too much sugar for true happiness. Combine that with a constant lack of sleep during the week and...Sherri was moving into bitchy mode. So by a little after 10 we were at the Parliament House, Orlando's most well known gay night club. It was very chilly, getting to downright cold. She was off and running as soon as her feet hit the pavement.

The first bar we went into was -- predictably -- a smoke filled room. Not all areas are smoking permited, but this one was, and after 3 minutes of smoke and various rather suspicious stares, I could feel my throat constricting and my eyes beginning to burn, so I stepped outside. The club is actually several smaller clubs around a courtyard and a hotel (draw your own conclusions), each with a theme, and a theatre known for great drag shows. I found a seat in the courtyard, which was empty of most everything but men rushing here and there, and probably 30 various well lit Christmas trees surrounded by cotten "snow". Husband played go between Miss S inside and me outside. She decided to "flit" and we took a peek around. Unfortunately for me, the rooms that weren't smoke filled were pounding with music so loud it was reverberating painfully inside my chest. We adjourned to the small restaurant they have, a blissfully calm and comparatively quiet oasis, and had a very late dinner. We caught up with Miss S after various adventures and were about to see the Drag Show when we realised that not only was it 1) incredibly loud 2) smoke filled and hazy (I never did see the stage) but 3) standing room only. Instead, we slipped out and drove through Downtown Orlando to look at Christmas lights.

We returned about 40 minutes later and Husband reluctantly left me in the car. I curled up and went soundly to sleep. When I roused again, it was mostly because I could no longer hear booming music and I was freezing. Then I realized Husband was bringing Miss S to the car. Miss S was drunk.

Inebriated. Blotto. Trashed. Wasted. Crocked. You pick a word. Oh Lord and Lady.

She was deposited in the back seat and began to perform Act 2 of the Drunken Drag Queen. Act 1, I was informed as we headed home, included waylaying various large breasted women in the club with protestations of love and promises of marriage, refusing to leave, having to be dragged out under protest after the club had closed, and eventually responding only to threats. Act 2 included vomiting out the car window while driving down the highway and this conversation.

Miss S: I'm sorry I'm so drunk. I'm Italian. Italian men don't get drunk.
Me: It's ok, sweetie.
Miss S; I guess Italian women do.
Husband: How do you think Italian men get them into bed?
Miss S: I asked Victoria to marry me. She was beautiful.
Me: Victoria?
Husband: One of the women in the club.
Miss S: She rejected me.
Me: Oh, that's too bad.
Miss S; My tits were bigger.
Husband: No, hers were bigger.
Miss S: She was jealous.
Me: Oh.
Miss S: I would have been her bitch so much.
Me: (tightly controlled laughter) Uh huh.
Miss S: But she rejected me. She was sooooo hot. And the other one, too.
Me: Uh huh
Miss S: And there was this guy. He bought me a drink. His name was Gary. He's a loser. He told me.
Me: (more laughter, much less controlled)
Husband: (rolling his eyes and keeping one finger on the automatic window control)
Miss S: He had a boy friend named Lars. Gary bought me a drink. He's soo not getting any, though.
Me: (sniggering through my nose in unsuccessful effort not to laugh)
Miss S: I'm sorry I"m throwing up out your window. I'm really sorry. I'll wash your car.
Me: It's ok.
Miss S: Open the window. I'm going to be unwell.

I've never been so grateful to own a car with power windows before.

Husband and I were in the strange position of trying to be caring and concerned while laughing ourselves into convulsions over the various Royal prononcements from the back seat. It is important to note that Gentlemen vomit, but Ladies are Unwell. Drag Queens, apparently, throw up.

Act 3 consisted of guiding a mostly boneless Miss S into the house, removing all the various accoutremouts of her Queendom, getting her into some sweatpants and a t shirt because she was shivering so hard, and tucking her tearful self into bed (after holding the trash can for her to vomit a little again).

I love her dearly. I was trying so hard to restrain my laughter and be comforting, to hold her water bottle for her, since she lost control of her hands, to help her lean out the car window. She's going to remember so little tomorrow and regret sooooo much. Her male Persona M is not fond of drunkenness. He's made this most succintly clear on various occasions, as he has his own interest in becoming inebriated. I am sure that, once his/her head has shrunken back to normal size and his/her mouth no longer tastes like dirty gym socks there will be a bout of personal recrimination.

The scary part is that we must get everything and every one tidy and in theri places by tomorrow afternoon. It's 5 am now. Miss S, after few bouts of crying and apologising, is out cold. Husband as just gone to sleep. I am about to. But I had to get this down first.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Daze into knights

Ok, it's a bad pun. There are no other kind.

Today was...a mass mix of frustrations, self doubt, and book buying. More on that later. supposed to be a club night with Miss P. I've not gone to a nightclub/bar in probably 18 years. Noise, cigarette smoke, and a dislike of crowds just made them completely uninteresting. However, I've promised, and I shall check to see if years have improved either the clubs or me. At the least, I may see a good drag show. Again -- we will see.

More on THAT later, too. Wish me luck.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Shiny New Day

D-day -2

Mother In Law Arrives in approximately 48 hours. She will probably be early. She's already moved it up by a whole day. Sheesh.

We had planned to do a show this weekend, but not NOW. No, now is the moment when Panic Cleaning must begin.

So far, actually, things aren't too bad. We've been gradually making the house a cleaner, gentler place all year. There's a pile of stuff for Good Will, and once that's gone, it's mostly putting things away and vacuuming. So we should have it done to a reasonable level by bed tonight, and we can finish up things on Sunday. Saturday we will still be doing the show, but only one day's worth. That's going to be a load of work. No matter how mininal we try to go. it's just always a lot of work.

In other positive news, the hearth is done. It looks like this.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Beep fucking Beep

I hate my car's horn. It's the weakest, wimpiest, thinnest little "meep" noise that a car horn can make. It's apologetic and pathetic. It says "um, pardon me" through its nose. It can't even get the attention of the teenage girl with a cell phone plastered to her head who is backing up into my car in the parking lot because she was so busy yakking (and waving the hand that was supposed to hold the steering wheel) that she drove right past the last "close up" parking spot to the stop sign (with my husband and I -- and three other cars -- behind her) and had to BACK UP because the parking spot STRAIGHT AHEAD OF HER was 15 feet too far for her to jiggle her fat, cell phone toting ass to the front door of the grocery store. We managed to back up about a foot and gesticulate enough and lean on the horn enough that she actually LOOKED IN HER MIRROR and stopped short of slamming into us. She then executed a 15 point turn to get into the damned parking spot.

My husband was driving. I would have just jetted my little wimpy car horned Mazda into that spot while she was still figuring it out at the stop sign.

I soooo much want a new car horn. I want a loud, articulate horn on my car. I want one that says "FUCKING BITCH! SHUT UP AND DRIVE THAT CAR!" without taking a breath. One that can express "HEY, IDIOT ON WHEELS! PICK A FUCKING LANE. YOU LEARNED IT IN KINDERGARTEN -- STAY BETWEEN THE LINES. DON"T GET ALL ARTISTIC AN NONCONFORMIST ON THE FUCKING HIGHWAY!" in one long, obnoxiously loud honk.

Have I ever mentioned I curse like a longhaul trucker when I drive? I learned it from my older brother, the longhaul truckdriver.

Eh, this ain't so new

CKE Restaurants Tout 'Low-Carb' Burger

Back in the day, you just said "hold the bun".

Of course, back in the day, most diners served a "diet plate" -- hamburger (fried) no bun, a scoop of cottage cheese (regular) on a lettuce leaf (wilty Iceberg), a peach half (in syrup) and maybe a slice of tomato. You felt so skinny just looking at the heavy, white china plate.

Ancient Days, Days of Yore

So we pass from poodle skirts to tie die to disco to...Atari? Yes, it is true. People like me are buying olf video game systems out of nostalgia.

I had a Commodore 64. I had tons of games (since they were easy to copy then) and a hot 1200 baud modem so I could dial the local BBSs and Q-link (nights, weekends and holidays, $5.00 an hour). I played games on it, wrote papers on it, composed poetry and drew pictures. I had Sim City on it -- oh my my my...

If only I hadn't given it and every damn bit of software away when I moved. Damn! i could clean up on e-Bay!

Check Our Rage

Have we got a new stress-related malady called 'Checkout Rage' ? Is it really a wide spread phenomena? Are people all around the nation, overburdened with busy schedules and heavy senses of entitlement, having fist fights over expired coupons? Are you risking your life taking 11 items into the "10 items or less" checkout line?

Or are there just professional assholes (also known as "flaming asshats") roaming around without their wardens making for good news copy?

For Miss Anthropy

Because she asked...

. The Husband and Me

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The Real Psychic Network

Sylkenvelvet (4:27:54 PM): Oh, important note. No one likes the bottomless abyss
Xkot (4:28:09 PM): what kind are we talking about?
Sylkenvelvet (4:28:39 PM): well, just in general. If you meet up with a bottomless abyss, chances are you won't like it. Not even if it offers you donuts.
Xkot (4:29:12 PM): if it's really bottomless it might not be so bad. i'd rather fall into a bottomless one than one with a very hard rocky bottom
Sylkenvelvet (4:29:53 PM): I dunno. Is it better to starve to death while falling because you didn't grab those donuts on your way down, or just going "splat" and getting it over with?
Sylkenvelvet (4:30:00 PM): and then there's windburn
Xkot (4:30:01 PM): though starving to death while having constant wind burn might suck
Xkot (4:30:01 PM): lol

Sylkenvelvet (4:30:06 PM): LOL!
Sylkenvelvet (4:30:15 PM): MY brain wave! Mine mine MINE!

Grout is not cake

Do you know about grout? I know about grout. Let me tell you everything important about grout.

1) No matter how creamy and smooth you mix it, it is not cake batter. If it's like cookie dough, add water.
2) You can have a float, you can have a trowel, you can have super-elastic bubble plastic gloves, but there will come a time where you will put your fingers in it.
3) Unsanded grout is the bomb. See important thing 2.
4) If you mix up too much for the moment but know you will need it later, you can Saran wrap it and put it in the fridge. Remember rule 1.

Why do I know about grout? Well, in my living room at this moment is a large hunka board and plywood covered in "glazed tile dots" and grout. When it grows up, it will be the new hearth for our fancy ventless fireplace. Those glazed tile dots are the 2x2 squares left over from when we tiled our bathroom floor. They are a lovely low gloss dark blue, and we bought about a jillion more of them than we really needed because once we got going on the floor (which is larger white tiles with an inset of the blue on the corners) we decided that cutting the frigging corners off every single white tile was going to make us nuts, so we modified, which meant those blue tiles have been in the garage for about four years. When we did the floor, we used sanded grout. Sanded grout is like 40 grit sand paper, only wet and sticky. When it comes down to actually using your hands to get the grout to go INTO those little crevices (since the damn float -- why is it called a float? It doesn't -- won't do it no matter HOW many of those home improvement shows you've watched. The only way to make the float work is Not To Care like the professionals do) it's exactly like rubbing your hands against wet, sticky 40 grit sandpaper.

Exactly. I didn't need to touch hand lotion for weeks afterwards. Anything like a callus or rough spot was gone and my hands were soo smooth and soft. Of course, for the first two weeksI also didn't want to touch anything. Not even air.

However, in my little grouty paradise there is a snake. It is evil and it is hissing at me even as I type this. Why, oh why, someone tell me why, did I think a rosy pink grout would look GOOD with dark blue tiles? Did I want out of Home Depot that bad?

Actually, I blame The Husband for this. (That's what I keep him around for). He's a "Color Engineer". He went to school for this. He can mix and match up a color in no time. This does not -- and I must remind myself of this frequently -- translate into having any taste at all. And he likes pink.

I hate pink. Have I ever talked about my dining room? No? That's because it's pink. I tried, I really did, but it's pink all the same. I don't care if the paint can DID say "pale rose" or whatever the hell it said. I don't care if it WAS the only logical color to go with the dark rose and the burdundy. I have a fucking PINK DINING ROOM. I hate it.

However, it will remain pink until I feel like repainting it. Which I don't. I'd rather bitch and complain about it.

Which does not fix this grout problem. Pink and blue, oh how cute, how very adorable, except not in my living room. Rose -- rose is ok. Salmon can be endured. Pink is an abomination.

(And I am NOT weating a pink shirt right now. It's ROSE. Said so when I bought it from the catalog. The difference is so obvious. And it's got black, and it's a plaid. Leave me alone.)

So that pink grout is drying on my blue blue tiles right now. The box said "Rose Beige". Well, it better start beiging or rosing up something fierce as it dries or there will be some cement paint in Husband's future. And a very tiny brush.

This is different

Apaches Praise 'The Missing' for Accuracy in portraying their people and their language. Isn't that amazing? The article says that local tribes are bussing in kids from all over to theatres so they can hear the Apache language spoken properly.

I'm simply stunned. Who would have expected a Hollywood movie to show some respect to a minority group?

Simply amazing. I may have to see the movie just so I can throw my money at them and say "Hey, you can do that thing again."

Monday, December 15, 2003

I <3 Adam Sessler

Yes, I did it. I made my very own Adam Sessler Worship page. I made a button and everything (Check over on the left).

I feel so full of geeky goodness.


Second Star On The Right

It's about time! I've been curious about the upcoming Peter Pan movie because it looked -- different. Different from Disney, and certainly different from Hook (which tried hard to take a solid poke at the original ideas and sort of floundered around in Dustin Hoffman's ruffled shirts and Robin William's sincerity).

I've never thought this was a simple story. There's nothing simple about being a child and facing those transitional years of puberty. I find it amazing as many of us survive it as we do -- and I suspect that many survivors are really walking wounded, still carting around everything that happened in junior high and high school. Even now, with it all 20 years behind me, I am sometimes surprised that other people think I am an adult. So am I, honestly.

Anyway, philosophy aside, this looks quite good. I'll pin a hope on it and see what happens.

Pardon, Must Bitch

Have you seen the Office Max commercial? Assorted dancers with drawn on smiles and drug flattened eyes in Office Max polos and khakis and Santa hats, holding what look like colored 3.5 disks in each hand, doing a weird elbows and knees marionette routine, accented by a fire baton twirler, some backflips, and shelves opening to reveal Santa Claus with yellow legal pads, singing "spend money at Office Max because everyone wants Post-it notes and paperclips for Christmas" to "Jingle Bells"?

I wish I hadn't. Several times.

Flavor of the day

I've tasted the copper of bitterness that Speakeasy described today. I'm staring at the last year of another decade of my life and thinking "Ok, so you've done all this and you aren't doing anything. Why? What happened?"

Music? Let it go out of fear. Don't have that magic ingredient, I guess, that would drive me and push me and make me make it work. The voice is still fairly good -- not that magic instrument I had 10 years ago, but then, I've let it slide. I can still harmonize on a dime, though.

Writing? I'm still mystified about it. Where did it go? The fire is banked. I burn my fuel here. Fear, again, though. Every thought looks worn through when I write it down. I can't get past the feeling it just ain't good, or ain't good enough. I want to get my master's in writing, but I don't want to travel too far for it. That's the fact. I don't want it ENOUGH to sacrifice. I'll do the work, but not the drive time.

There's no point in the bitterness. I know where the responsibility lies. I know who made all the choices, or avoided making the choices, or closed her eyes and pretended there were no choices to be made.

But I'm not miserable. Things aren't bad here in Sherri land. Oh yes, there are the bad days, the bad hours, the stuff I know is just chemicals out of whack (and the wierd science fiction feeling of knowing that. Better living through chemicals, indeed. Only now, no pills. Another day, no pills.)

It feels strangely better, though, to read your thoughts in someone else's handwriting. Thanks.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Remotely Controlled

I just finished taping The Bells of St. Mary's, a smooshy old classic movie, and thinking that everything ever said about Ingrid Bergman's beauty is so true. Especially when she's filmed in black and white, she simply glows. I'm going to have to dig Casablanca out and watch it yet again. I'm going to have to see more of her films. I so much prefer the standards of beauty that came before.

Having Miss S stay for the weekend is a real pleasure because she does dishes and cooks breakfast (French Toast! Who hoo!). The only real downside is that she likes to stay up REALLY late and thus sleep through the day. I prefer this schedule myself, but having a job that requires morning hours (and a husband as well) means that if I stay up late all weekend, on Monday I'm ... not at my best.

Then there's watching TV with Miss S. I admit, I spent a large part of Saturday lounging and flipping through old cartoons like Shazzan and The Herculoids and *gasp* Birdman and the Galaxy Trio. But Miss S tuned in the Anna Nicole Show because, as she said "No one does Bimbo like Anna".

Oh powers that be, in 45 minutes I discovered wells of hatred for this woman within myself. Hatred, disgust, and bewilderment.

Let me rephrase that. I hated watching her. I begrudged those 45 minutes even as I sat with Miss S and shared time making assorted acidic comments. Anna Nicole complains more about less than anyone I've ever been forced to experience. I know so few people who would gripe about staying in a FREE hotel room that was not only clean and quiet, but had unmelted chocolates on the pillow. In my socio-economic circle, this is known as a GOOD thing. And please, getting onions on your enchiladas is NOT the end of the world. Order something else, sheesh, but stop whining. Oh, and maybe the enchiladas isn't the best nutritional choice. I'm thinking about that horizontal cleavage displayed under her arms, honey. As one large woman to another -- dress your weight. Horizontal cleavage, like back cleavage, is unattractive. The shiny silver strapless sheath she wore to her "art opening" -- where groups of synchophants praised her paintings and slobbered on her celebrity with wine and cheese -- should be given to someone else. There are drag queens who would love that dress.

It's just me and my little middle class opinion, but cleavage should be vertical and should occur more or less naturally. Tits and ass, babe, keep it on the tits and ass. You've plenty of both, so you don't need to add any more.

It's going to take me some time and some heavy meditation to purge the memories, folks. I think Anna Nicole's whole purpose in life is to be dissed, stared at and commented upon by those of us who lost our battle to ignore her. I'd managed up to last night. Bless her and let her go, but please don't make me watch again.

However, I do see how she can be a role model for a budding drag queen.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

I am the fairy godmother

Miss S went out on the town last night.

We spent the afternoon shopping. It's a little awkward for Miss S to shop locally, as she still has her "secret identity" to protect. Usually we travel further from home, but she is constantly trying to make things convenient for me and so chose to visit our local mall. Pheh. I don't even much like our local mall. If I'm looking for something, chances of it being at the local mall aren't good. They have a Books-a-Dozen, a pseudo mega-bookstore that has annoyed me so many times that not only do I hate going into it, I'm not even going to link it up here. Not only does it never have what I'm looking for, it hires illiterates who don' t know how to shelve books. Pheh, I say.

After that, it was home so she could relax and begin preparations. There was the Adventure of the Manicure. There was the Trial of the False Eyelashes. There was the Battle of the Body Shaper. The Triumph of Perfect Eyebrows. So many milestones to reach until Miss S stood before us, fabulous in her near-perfection.

Husband was her escort to a club that has a well known drag show. I got some update phone calls but it was about 3:30 when the two tired but happy party people reappeared. I was dozing under a cat when they arrived but got up to eat the donut presented and hear the stories. I shall let her relate all that.

Still, although I couldn't go, I was "invoked" for the good job on her makeup I did, and her perfect hair -- I seem to have a talent for styling it. Today we must convert her back to her mundane "normal" identity, the one that goes to work and may not have beautiful red painted nails. Ah, but I'd think trying to be that fabulous all the time would be exhausting. It's so much a costume.

There will be a day in the future, however, when Miss S will go with me and probably her Mom for lunch and shopping. We just have to get her some decent shoes. Four inch *fuck me* heels are all fine and good, but they are for posing in, not for walking in.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Hark! I hear the cannon's Roar. Is it the King Approaching?

I started my morning with this rReturn of the King review and some pondering about the upcoming movie.

I watched the first two, of course, like anyone who's read the books more than once must manage before they die. We own the videos, which I watched for the extras. However, I must admit this.

I don't want to see them again. I'm not sure I want to see the last one.

Why? It's complicated. I really, really , REALLY loved the first two movies. They hooked directly into me and dragged me along through every little thing. It was exhilarating. It was exhausting. It was depleting. I felt like an old mop when it was over. I felt emotionally raw and physically drained. Just listening to the sound track afterwards could start me crying.

It's hard to work up enthusiasm for an experience that you know will do that.

It's not like I *want* to be the trilogies bitch. It just happens.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Blood Post

Warning. This post is about blood. Them as don't wanna know should maybe go here

You've been warned.


I'm bleeding again.

It started the day before yesterday. I was hopeful. Perhaps my period was re-establishing itself. Things have been rather hit-n-miss in the post miscarriage recovery hormone normalization stage. So, I wasn't worried about it at all.

Even when I woke up around 3 am because I knew my "protection" had flooded and was about to create disaster. So, ok, I haven't had a normal period in three months, it might be a little...exuberant.

Now I'm beginning to wonder if there's something wrong. The bleeding is getting heavy. Not to "blorp" level, but uncomfortably heavy, in the overflow all bounds and get the underclothes stained way. I'm going to give it the weekend. If it gets better, great. If it doesn't change, I call the doctor on Monday. If it gets worse -- I'll get to visit the ER. I haven't seen the new ER. They were moving into the new building the last time I was there (and I mean, they were two days from moving the last stuff over).

So what does it mean anyway? One of the fibroid tumors having a good time? Something gone very bad? I can't (and I do mean CAN'T) be pregnant again and doing another miscarriage. I KNOW this without doubt (and very much dislike it, but it's damned hard to feel sexy and loving and all when you are bleeding every single damned day.) So far there is no pain, none of the twisting oh there's something wrong here aching and cramping and yuck. So Far.

I would like to resume my regular, ordinary, biological cycle. I really don't think it's asking all that much. Millions and millions of women are managing it. Hell, I did it with nary a snag for some 24 years. I'm tired of fucking BLEEDING. I'm tired of not FUCKING, actually. I'm pretty weary with the WHOLE DAMN THING.

Learning Experiences

Sometimes you are just innocently reading along, all your thoughts are pure, no evil anywhere around you, and the world is calm. Then Pete has to intimidate you with true stories of his terrifyingly huge penis.

Possibly he's subconsiously reacting to this.

Side Note

When I did a Yahoo! Search for nun's habit, hoping for a link to the history of the costume, I got instead a long, long, LONG list of porm and humor sites...

You are what you wear

French Panel Favors Ban on Head Scarves

The power of symbols.

My first reaction is that while a person might wear a particular piece of clothing due to religious conviction, the piece of clothing itself is not the religion.

My second reaction is that conformity is not necessarily the way to show "respect of differences". If we expect a religious group to demonstrate tolerance toward other religious groups or non-religious groups (aka if "we" want "them" to behave around "us"), then they must receive the same type of tolerance.

The the discourse about Islam and secularism, there are those who pull hard on the far ends of the argument. However, I'm uncertain that forbidding the wearing of a particular style of clothing is in fact protecting "secular underpinnings" so much as it's "you are gonna look like the rest of us so we feel safe" or even an attempt to rip away identity from a minority. While the wearing of the hijab has negative connotations as witnessed in the cruel enforcement by the Taliban in Afghanistan, there are many Muslim women who want to wear it, both because of belief and because of self-identity, just as the Hasidim wear their prayer shawls and dark suits, or the Catholic Nun a habit.

It is sometimes true that a fanatic can be identified by distinctive costume or symbolic clothing. However, not all that wear a particular style of clothing are fanatics, extremists or dangerous persons, just as not all dangerous persons are going to conveniently identify themselves via their clothing. I do not believe that passing a law against wearing particular clothes or jewelry will do anything to promote either peace between groups, provide greater understanding, or protect the freedom and peace of the community at large.

Is it possible to create an egalitarian society by restricting freedoms like wearing certain kinds of clothing? Is this just a stab at the Islamic community? Is this possibly a good thing to require by law that persons surrender symbols of or styles dictated by their spiritual beliefs in all non-religious/private spaces? I'm trying to picture the kinds of complaints being issued. "She wore her scarf offensively" or "I could see the movie through her scarf"?

Interestingly enough, I feel that this case is not the same thing. This was a matter of being able to identify someone so that they could be accorded a privaledge. (Driving is not a right, despite the general American impression. Ask someone in Europe.) The condition for having a license in Florida is that one's picture appears on it, and that one's face is visible. A driver's license is a form of identification -- people use them to prove who they are. If you don't wish to be identified, you don't get one. This woman is not being forbidden to wear her scarf. She's just not allowed to get a license that doesn't have a picture of her face on it. While not being able to legally drive a car in Florida will limit her ability to travel around -- she will be dependent on others or on public transporrt -- she's not subject to descrimination because of it. Lots of people do not have driver's licenses or drive cars because either they have lost the priviledge by not complying with law or they have not chosen to do what is needed to obtain the priviledge.

Come on, someone discuss this with me. I want to get a handle on it.

I don't kill someone every day, sometimes twice a day

Like some proportion of the world's population, I am not a morning person. No, that's not quite right. I am not a morning person. I don't hate mornings as far as actively trying to stop mornings from coming or wanting to pass laws forcing everyone to stay in bed until 10 am. Rather, I just like to be left to face mornings my own way, which usually involves turning my face back to my pillow, closing my eyes and waiting for it to go away. My morning starts between 6:30 and 7:00 am.

So I'm married to this morning person. Up with the sun, chatty and happy and making what I suspect are silly jokes. I don't kill him every single morning because I love him. And because killing him would mean I have to listen to all the noise. The only noise I want to hear in the mornings is the news on the radio.

I deal with mornings with my script. It goes along with whatever routine I develop. I am a person who follows a routine, but it's not REALLY a routine, mostly because I can barely do the same thing twice, but it's a general tendency toward a routine. And there's the silent, internal, and driving script. It goes like this.

Don't talk to me. I'm not speaking.
Get out of my way.
Where was I going? Oh, yeah.
Oh dear goddess, that IS my face.
Do I own matching clothes?
I KNOW I own shoes. Where did they go?
You're still in my way.
Glasses. Must have glasses.
Purse. Caffiene money. Keys. Keys? KEYS? Keys.
I don't hear you.
Damn door's still there.
Oh gods above and below, will you SHUT UP?

If I have to actually voice a part of my script, or if I have to say anything that isn't in my script, I get VERY PISSED OFF. I'm easily irritated in the morning because, well, I don't want to BE there. Push it too far, and I will BITE OFF something of yours that you really, really want.

However, if you leave me the hell alone, within about half an hour I become innured to the trauma of being awake and will function with civility. Give me my caffiene, and I will become friendly. By 8:30 I'll be able to answer basic questions without snarling. By 10 am I'm fairly pleasant and your jokes will be funny. Just don't go screwing it up by talking to me or trying to get me to talk back. I really mean it.

Just remember, I'm not killing you. It's an act of love.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Reader's Theater Scripts

I have gotten a lot of people referred here looking for scripts for Reader's Theater. I'm not greedy (much) so I've put a link down under my Lists of Books link (scroll down on the left) to some of the scripts I've done so far. I'll add more as I make them. It's sort of a "take it as is" situation. I hope it helps some people out!

Reader's Theater Scripts


Miss S!

Yes yes, my favorite drag queen (drag princess? Hmmm.) has got her own little weblog. I expect that she will be able to relate her assorted and sordid adventures quite well as soon as she's squeezed her way into it and gotten everything settled into place.

Welcome to the Bloggosphere, sweetie!

Space here for pun

Oh *drip, drip*, I am SO *drip, drip* relieved. Michael Jackson may not have molested a child. *drip, drip, drip*

Let me wipe up that sarcasm. Didn't mean to get it all over the weblog.

*sigh* I could give a rat's ass about The Faceless One, but child sexual abuse is a subject that rouses my ire. When one mixes fame and money into the situation, it gets even more muddy. Who's really doing the abuse here?

Ok, let's say that ol' Mikey *didn't* do anything untoward with this boy. It is still time he stopped the nonsense and acted responsibly. No more sleepovers. If you want to have a slumber party for your kids and their friends, that's fine. The kids sleep in one room and the grownups sleep in another. And absolutely everyone keeps their hands above the covers and their pajamas buttoned. Done.

And if we assume that ol' Mikey didn't show off his "special fun ride" to this boy, then I'd have to say his mother is doing the abuse by convincing/persuading/coercing the boy into SAYING he was abused. The child is being used to get money.

If Mike did abuse this boy, it's time he was put away. There's no more to it than that. What this particular report might then mean is that the boy was persuaded to NOT admit what happened, once again in hopes of possible monetary gain. His mother might have thought that if she hushed it up, Mike might cough up some "gratitude" and when he didn't, she sought to bring retribution upon him by revealing the truth -- not that this exculpates her in any way.

So I'm thinking there are at least two adults at fault in this situation no matter what is happening. At least one abusive adult is causing harm to this child. It's not a good situation. In fact, there's no way to LOOK at this without noticing how twisted it is.

Sometimes you need to up the meds

Poor Rien!

I had a delightful time back in September when my husband and I went to The Netherlands and I got to meet Rien, an online friend of nearly 4 years. I met Ester, his beloved, as well, and even met Zen, the last remaining household cat (and a most loveable lump of black fur stirred only from her chair by food but willing to accept all offerings of affection, especially when they involve food.) Rien was a wonderful tour guide, a fun guy, and generally Very Nice.

However, lately I'm beginning to worry about him.

Turn That Damn Light Off

Oh please say it ain't so! Are they really contemplatinganother Batman movie?

Let's put this in perspective. I loved the first movie, despite whatever it had and didn't have. I just plain did. I managed to like the second movie even when it ooked me out. I tolerated the third movie and took the campy performances as a sort of homage to the television series (how else could you possibly interpret Arnold and Uma?). I skipped the last one. I didn't have the stomach for it.

So let it lie there! Please, please, please! Maybe it would be worth putting up a petition begging Hollywood for mercy for ol' Batman?

On a side note, everytime I try to type "Batman", I find myself typing "Bathman" and *thinking* "Bathmat". Either I really want new rugs for my bathroom, or I'm channeling someone.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Well duh!

Britney Spears tops the current "hate" sites you can Google. (This link may change -- I can't locate a stable url).

It used to be the Spice Girls.

While it's a sad commentary on modern life that people have to put so much energy and time into something like hating a pop-star, it's not surprising, really. Few things are universally popular (I can think of "air" as pretty much a world wide favorite and even then I'm certain there are those who don't like breathing but just can't give it up). For anything some find wonderful there are those who just can't stand it. The more frivilous it is, the more fun it is to hate it.

It would be so much more effective to simply ignore such things. Even hating Britney is spending time thinking about her, writing about her, and encouraging others to come to her defense.

Of course, the bigger the thing is, the harder this sort of withdrawing is to do. Take war, for example. If you were anti-war and could literally remove all your energy from a war effort, you'd be removing your money (taxation to support a military), your work (nothing you did would directly or indirectly support weaponry or defense industries), your thoughts (you would not read war news, study past or current war, or work on war-related technology. You would not discuss anything concerning war.) and your time (all your energies would go toward peace encouraging efforts -- not "anti-war" because that would be acknowleding war and lending it your energies via thought. You'd have to figure out what was peace promoting and put everything in that direction).

Practically impossible, and for an individual, relatively innocuous. However, if many, MANY people did it -- somehow managing to maintain control over all their output energies in all the myriad forms it takes -- it would go a long way toward eliminating warlike activity. Of course, then you'd come up directly against all those people directing all their energies TOWARD war -- but at least there would be few, if any, fence sitters.

This works, of course, only if you subscribe to the idea that everything is energy of some kind and that energies of all kinds can be directed by the human will. Even better, if you go along with the idea that we make our own reality based on our collective thoughts, and thoughts with enough group energy behind them become realities.

Now that I've solved the world's problems, I think I'll get another Diet Pepsi and not think about Britney Spears anymore.

Good news

Peter Jackson is talking about Bringing 'The Hobbit' to the Screen. I'm for it. There aren't so many actor crossovers between LotR and Hobbit as it make it all weird and such, and, well, I've got memories of other attempts to expunge.

Right now he's working on King Kong remake. I've seen the original a number of times, but only experienced
the 1976 version one time and wasn't happy about it. ("Dwan"? Please.) But I have an undying love for guys in rubber monster suits so I'm game for another round.

There was a 1962 version of the movie made in India. Um.

Of course, my favorite King Kong movie was King Kong Vs Godzilla, most especially for the tail swinging scene. Whoo hoo! And the giant Blue Screen Octopus attack. Gotta love it.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Pie Season

It's getting to be apple pie time around Casa de Sherri. I don't make pies per recipe, at least in the traditional sense, but I have taken a pie making method of my husband's and brought it to a peak of perfection. The real trick with apples pies is to improvise and not sweat the small stuff.

It's also the mix of apples. You want to use at least three kinds of apples in a good pie -- a yellow apple that is mild and has a soft, sweet flesh (Golden Delicious works well), a red apple with a firm flesh and strong, sweet flavor (I like Fujis) and Granny Smiths. Whatever else you pick, you gotta use those Granny Smiths. And don't for heaven's sake use Red Delicious -- the only apple made from 100% sawdust and library paste. Yech! You don't want mealy apples and you don't want Apples that Look Good and Taste like library paste.

You need all three apple types in equal amounts and well mixed together. Peel, core and slice into either the traditional apple slice or chunk 'em up. Puree two of each apple to use layering your slices/chunks (or use a no-sugar added applesauce. Apple butter works too, if you mix it with the puree). No sugar needed, no molasses, no Splenda, no anything like that. The right apples will work wonders. I like to add walnuts and a good helping of candied ginger. Not all candied ginger is the same -- if you don't want to eat it from the container, don't use it in the pie is my rule.

And crust? Pillsbury makes a fine one. I've never perfected making my own crust and honestly, when I can buy one that's better than anything I can make, I see no need to suffer endlessly to perfect that mysterious magic of combining shortening and flour (Pea size lumps is the one thing every recipe mentions and I've never acomplished.) Important thing with the crust is the timing and the poking. You want the crust to be warm enough to bend but cool enough not to stick to everything but the pie pan. And you want to prick the hell out of the bottom crust with a fork so that no nasty little air bubbles form and blow your pie up. I like doing cut outs with the top crust rather than the lattice work thing. Oh, I can actually do a lattice, since that doesn't require you actually make the crust yourself. Basic arts-n-crafts work will do it.

Ah yes, apple pie time. I did it once with pears and apples. I've added dried cranberries (that was a winner). Who knows what I'll come up with this year? Wasabi peas?


i wrote this really down, depressed, whiney post a little while ago. Blogger ate it.

I'm feeling better now, but not because I cleaned the bathroom.

That is all.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

The Joy of Referal Logs

Not only am I listed in the Yahoo! Search Results for grinch fart poem but there actually is a top listing for one!

Yes Virginia, there really IS a Grinch fart poem.

Oh lawsy lawsy.

Of Miss La, Mr. Somber, and Lady Nerves

The Christmas performance...happened. I was so disgusted that I cut immediately after we stopped speaking. I had several friends in the audience who tried to comfort me about it, but we were heading for dinner afterwards at a Japanese steak house and the conversation quickly diverted to sushi and who can't eat mushrooms and how can we talk about sex while there are two very underage but highly attentive (in the "little pitcher" sense) children at the table who weren't ours and who were looking at us with a warning/fearful expression.

Still, to complete my venting -- one member, whom I shall call Miss La, is quite youthful. She has some talent and is being educated to use it. She can be occasionally unbearable as all young people in her age group can be. Now, it is customary when giving a performance with the Reader's Theatre to dress as if one were going somewhere very nice -- for women, a nice skirt or pantsuit, heels, makeup, tasteful jewelry. For men, slacks and shirt, or a suit or blazer. This being a Christmas performance, we were going for "festive". It isn't like anyone has to buy special clothes. Clean and tasteful, office clothes or nice evening wear, or church clothes.

Miss La wore tight, faded and somewhat stained jeans across her generous hips, a red stretch top, and flip flops displaying a bright and not-that-good pedicure. She complained a lot about being cold (for Florida, it's chilly right now). For going to a movie and eating a hamburger, she looked fine. For performance, she looked pretty damn sloppy. It also, in the minds of all those people older than she who were there to be looking, felt very flippant and "fuck you" -- to us and to the audience. I suspect she was aware of this. I also suspect her lack of decorum will be brought to her attention. Hell, the shirt would have been ok if she'd put on shoes and some slacks.

This was a noticeable although in reality minor problem. Major problems were also there.

I kept choking. This made me disgusted with myself.

Lady Nerves -- a terribly sweet and wonderful lady with a high, tight, vibrating tendency in her voice -- just about flew apart on one piece, starting off at her highest point and trying to get higher (which hurt) although she recovered later and did quite well.

Mr. Sombre -- slow on cues, didn't get off the couch to read for one story (we have seats but stand when we are reading), and read in such a slow, predictable, bored, voice -- every word getting the same weight, long pauses between sentences or phrases, with little varience in tone -- I wish I could describe in writing how he sounds. If you've ever heard Garrison Keillor reading when he's being serious or poignant, you've got an inkling. Mr. Somber does it without Keillor's expressiveness and vocal range. So boring a reading, so dull and uninteresting and replete with "why am I doing this when I could be watching infomercials" emotion, I simply don't know why he does it. Why does he participate?

The "Visit from St. Nick" went about as badly as I expected, except there were few children, and many embarrassed adults who did not -- as predicted by me, Cassandra of the Reader's Theatre -- know the words. We fell back on bad jokes mid poem. Couldn't be helped. SOMEONE had to get a laugh.

In summary, the performance sucked and while I might do something to improve what I did, I can't do a damn thing about what anyone else did. I can't even properly come up with a way to express what I heard and saw and was thinking while there.

Luckily, the rest of the evening went better, as we sat around the (alcohol gel) fire with friends and drank wine and told True Stories of Sex and discussed at length just how many sexual experiences of every 10 could be bad before you Just Did Something (or someone) Else.

(there's a max of 3 if just dating and 5 if married)

Friday, December 05, 2003

Public Service Announcement

When I decided to create this weblog, I spent a lot of time trying to think up a name. The quote (up at the top of the page) from Gertrude Stein seemed to sum it up for me. "I write for myself and strangers. That's the only way I can do it."

Of course, when I opened up Blogger and started to type in the URL name I wanted, I typed in "For myself and others." I don't know why. It just happened. Maybe I hadn't had enough caffiene that day. Maybe it was a momentary failure in synaptical firing. Subconsious self sabotage. Brain fart. Who knows?

The point is, I can't undo it. Oh, yeah, sure, I could probably open a new URL with the correct name and port all this stuff over and put up a "Hey, I moved over here" notice and all that stuff but...why? Lots and lots of weblogs and websites have titles that do not match the URL. It's not criminal!


*sigh* It just bugs me. It really does, in the way having just a few grains of sand in your bed will bug you. Not a serious problem, especially when you are all comfy and warm and drowsy where you are, not enough to make you jump out of the bed and slap furiously at the sheets until every possible granule of anything remotely like sand has been banished to the floor to be vacuumed up tomorrow and you are so breathless from the activity that you know you won't settle down back to sleep for a good 30 minutes and the cats have scattered and your husband is just STARING at you. No, it isn't that bad.

But it does bug me. The title is "For Myself And Strangers". I even have a nifty little logo up there in the left hand corner. And the quote at the top. And my list labels so cleverly labeling my lists over there, too. It's, like, a THEME, a unifying motif, something I think is nifty.


A Mistake

I'm gonna fuck it up again
I'm gonna do another detour
unpave my path
and if you wanna make sense
Whatcha looking at me for
I'm no good at math

- Fiona Apple, A Mistake

There's something disheartening and saddening when you realize you've pushed a little too far with someone. I'm mulling that over this morning.

Last night, bouyed up by Miss S's happiness and confidence, I went to my writing group, where I was asked what had me so bubbly. After a second or two of thought, I said "Well, I went shopping with a drag queen today." There were a couple of blinks, then smiles, and some simple questions. The mood was positive and interested. I was very circumspect about identity and so forth, but I couldn't repress my mood.

Later I was with another friend, someone I value greatly but know is much more conservative than I am in some ways, yet quite open minded in others. She, too, asked me about what I'd been talking about, and I was hesitant to tell her. I even said -- in a typical example of my inability to separate "inside voice" from "outside voice" -- "I don't know if you want to know." She was, of course, curious, so I told her.

"Has he sought therapy?"

I was nonplussed. "Well, it's something he's testing out, and I've never seen him so happy."

"Is it like an hysterical happiness?"

Blink, blink. "Uh, no. He seems genuinely to be enjoying himself. And even he says it may be phase."

"Do you have any idea what caused it? Do you know anything about his background?"

Blink, blink.

It went on that way for a while until the subject changed, and I had to mull it over. Of course, I should have known before I opened my mouth. She is pretty fixed on sexual roles. Highly traditional. When something gets outside the status quo, her first impulse is to fix it. Make everything right. Her motivation is positive, really. She intends to have everyone end up content and safe. But her world definition doesn't see such activities as cross-dressing as "safe". She forsees dangers.

Interestingly enough, she doesn't hold such views about gay people, or at least does not hold them as strongly. Nevertheless, there's a bitter sort of aftertaste that comes of such a situation. And I will need to school myself to greater control of my mouth. This isn't my "secret" to tell.

But, damn, one day this is going to make a really interesting story. One day.